Even without children, the divorce process can lead to numerous concerns for the future. However, as a parent, you probably have all the same worries anyone else might have during a divorce with the added concerns for your children. You might wonder how your children are coping to the news or if the financial impact of divorce might affect their standard of living. However, one of the most immediate concerns for many divorcing parents is what child custody option will be best for their children.
Two types of custody
In North Carolina there are two types of child custody: physical and legal custody. When a parent has physical custody, the children will live with that parent. That parent is responsible for managing the children’s day to day needs.
When a parent has legal custody, he or she has the authority to make decisions on the children’s behalf. Some of those decisions include where they will attend school and what religion they will practice.
Either one or both parents could have physical or legal custody. Shared physical custody is often awarded because it is usually best for children to continue having meaningful relationships with both parents. However, shared physical custody does not always mean equal parenting time. Parenting schedules can vary greatly from family to family because they are usually designed to create the least disruption possible to the children’s school and activity routines.
Shared physical custody is most often paired with joint legal custody. If joint legal custody is awarded, the parents must come to an agreement on major decisions regarding their children’s upbringing.
If sole physical custody is granted, the parent who does not have custody is often granted visitation with the children. Sometimes the parent who has sole physical custody can also have sole legal custody, but joint legal custody can also be awarded.
The best child custody option for your family will depend on your children’s needs and your family’s situation. With a full understanding of the possibilities, you can more confidently pursue the custody option you think is the best choice for your children.